Indian outsourcers losing shine?

Fewer outsourcing providers from India rank among the top global vendors, but they still dominate the business process outsourcing market, new report shows.

Indian IT services companies are losing their grip on the global outsourcing ecosystem, a new report has revealed.

Only 10 outsourcers from India made it to this year's 50 best managed global outsourcing vendors for the 2008 Black Book of Outsourcing (PDF version), compared with about half in 2004. Nearly 25,000 outsourcing users participated in the Brown-Wilson Group survey, which ended in May.

The best Indian performers on the list were Wipro, Satyam and GenPact, which were ranked sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively. In 2006, five of the top 10 vendors on the list were Indian outsourcing service providers.

This year's top honors went to Hewlett-Packard, which jumped from eighth spot in 2007. HP also topped the list of top 10 vendors for financial and accounting outsourcing.

Rounding up the rest of the global top five were all U.S.-headquartered companies--Perot Systems, CSC Unisys and EDS. The report indicated that the Black Book survey closed the day before HP announced its acquisition of EDS.

Indian dominance prevailed in the realm of business process outsourcing (BPO), with Genpact, Satyam BPO, Wipro and HCL BPO making up the top four vendors. Satyam also was placed fourth on the list of top 10 knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) vendors.

In a statement Tuesday, Satyam BPO's CEO Venkatesh Roddam noted that the results as an affirmation of the company's strategic perspective. "The categories in which we have been ranked this year--BPO and KPO--are the key growth areas that we have been focusing on and basing our 'Specialty BPO' positioning on," he said.

The 2008 Black Book of Outsourcing report singled out Infosys' fall from the 50 best vendors list as "surprising". At No. 59, this year marks the first in five years that Infosys has failed to enter the top 50. It was ranked No. 10 last year.

Douglas Brown and Scott Wilson, authors of the report, noted that the company's displacement was accompanied by "rising accounts of client discontentment".

They said: "Over a dozen major customers cited the fact that Infosys has not melded their consulting and service delivery well. U.S. clients cite a lack of American front office support with an imbalance of too much delivered from offshore."

Despite their slide, Indian players remain a major force in the outsourcing industry, and outsourcers in China are still nowhere close to replacing them. According to the report, Chinese outsourcing companies have failed to make the cut for the top 50 for a second consecutive year.

Brown and Wilson pointed out that despite highly skilled labor and solid infrastructure, "China is still risky" particularly in the areas of partnerships, business stability and distribution channels.

They said: "Revenues are increasing for China’s technology providers but hardly touch a fraction of the huge global offshoring market share.

"Based on recent client satisfaction outcomes, the majority of those outsourcing decision-makers will not rank China as their first choice for upcoming initiatives anytime soon. [They] currently agree that too many barriers exist for China to take India’s place as offshoring destination of choice."


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